Q & A with Harry Rinker: Thorens Music Box, H. L. Leonard Bamboo Fly Rod

Thorens AD30 music boxes appear regularly for sale on eBay. These music boxes are now 50 to 75 years old, a date point that implies “age” to younger collectors. At $150 to $300, the Thorens AD30 is affordable for those who are fascinated with the music box concept and want to own one.

QUESTION: I have a Thorens music box and a dozen 4 ½-inch metal disc records, one of which is “A Bicycle Built for Two.” The mechanism is housed in a small wooden box. What is the value of my music box and discs?

– A, Spring City, Pa.

ANSWER: Herman Thorens registered the Thorens family business in Sainte-Crox (St.-Croix), Vaud, Switzerland, in 1883. Initially, the company produced clock movements and cylinder music boxes. In 1903, Thorens manufactured its first Edison-type phonograph, introducing an electric model in 1928. Thorens merged with Paillard in 1963. Three years later, Thorens ended its relationship with Paillard and entered one with EMT, forming Thorens-Franz AG. In 1985-86, Reuge SA took over the production of the Thorens AD30 music boxes. Today, Thorens is a manufacturer of high-end audio equipment.

The Thorens AD30 music box, the style I most frequently encounter, dates from the 1940s through the early 1970s. The music box has a 30-tooth musical comb. Click through for a detailed list of disc titles.

Thorens AD30 music boxes appear regularly for sale on eBay. On May 7, 2013, a 1960s-1970s Thorens Model AD30 complete with its period box, paper instructions and 16 discs, closed at $305 plus $15 shipping and handling. The wood box measured 7 ¼ inches by 5 ¾ inches. Apparently, the Model AD30 came in several box variations. Another example of a 1960s-1970s Thorens Model AD30 in a wooden box with a disc storage compartment on the left and 11 discs closed at $219.55 plus shipping and handling. A Thorens AD30 styled like a gramophone and including 10 discs closed on April 22, 2013, for $388 plus shipping and handling. Discs sell in the $4 to $7 range.

These values represent a significant improvement over the $50 to $75 for a Thorens AD30 music box accompanied by a few discs that was the standard value 10 years ago. Although nowhere near the quality of late 19th and early 20th century cylinder and disc music boxes, the increase in value represents the lower end of the market keeping pace with price advances at the high-end of the market. The music quality of the Thorens AD30 is at best adequate. However, these smaller music boxes are now 50 to 75 years old, a date point that implies “age” to younger collectors. At $150 to $300, the Thorens AD30 is affordable for those who are fascinated with the music box concept and want to own one.

There is a strong secondary market for H. L. Leonard Rod Company bamboo fly rods, with values starting in the low hundreds and ranging into the low thousands.

QUESTION: I have an H. L. Leonard bamboo fly rod with two different tips. When assembled, it is 10 feet long. The rod is housed in a cloth case and stored in a metal cylinder. Does it have any value?

– D, Altoona, Pa.

ANSWER: Although there are more than 1,000 different types of bamboo (also known as cane), Calcutta Cane and Tonkin Cane are the most popular variations used to make split bamboo fly rods.

Author’s Aside: I worked in Easton, Pa., as executive director of the Hugh Moore Park, a 750-acre park encompassing 7 ½ miles of the Lehigh Canal, from 1968 through 1972. In 1846, Samuel Phillipe, an Easton gunsmith, is credited with making the first bamboo fly rod using Calcutta cane. His son Solon made the first hexagonal rod using Calcutta cane in 1859. Recent research has called these claims into question, but Easton historians continue to hold firm to their beliefs.

The H. L. Leonard Rod Company of Bangor, Maine, dates from 1869. Initially using ash and lancewood, Hiram Lucas Leonard switched to bamboo in 1874, using it exclusively until his death in 1907. The company continued to produce rods for eight more decades, surviving a 1964 fire. When the company declared bankruptcy in 1984, Marc Aroner purchased its equipment.

The key to determining the value of your H. L. Leonard rod is to determine its model number and condition. I cannot do this from the information that you provided. Consider trying the forum on the Classic Fly Rod Forum.

Researching prices on Internet dealer websites and eBay reveals there is a strong secondary market with values starting in the low hundreds and ranging into the low thousands. The “New and Pre-owned Price List” on the Classic Fly Fisherman website lists a NY Model #76 for $1,105. An H. L. Leonard Model 39, “Fairy Catskill,” 8-foot bamboo fly rod closed on eBay on May 5, 2013 for $910 plus shipping and handling. Most models appear to fall into the 7- to 8 ½-foot range. I did find a 9-foot, 3-inch example that closed on eBay on March 30, 2013, for $600.

An Aladdin lamp in the Lincoln Drape pattern with all its period parts.

QUESTION: I own an Aladdin lamp, which I believe is in the Lincoln Drape pattern, that has all its period parts. The base and shade are an opaque white. It stands 25 ½-inches tall. I purchased it from an estate sale in the 1980s. What is its age and value?

– JB, Nocona, Texas

ANSWER: Aladdin manufactured the tall Lincoln Drape lamp from 1940 to 1949. The light was made in Alacite (an ivory opal color), amber, cobalt blue and ruby red. Crystal examples are known, but may never have been offered for public sale. The Aladdin website contains a history of the company written by J. W. Courter.

Henry Hellmers created the Alacite formula for Aladdin in 1938. From 1938 until it was banned in 1942, the formula contained uranium oxide as a coloring agent. Lamps made during this period glow yellow-green under an ultra violet (black) light. As a result, collectors divide the lamps into “old formula” and “new formula.” The Alacite tall Lincoln Drape was the most popular Aladdin Lamp sold.

The Aladdin tall Lincoln Drape lamp has been reproduced. Period lamps were made in one piece. The bowl and foot of the reproduction lamps were made separately and glued together. Look for evidence of the joint beneath the bowl. Other clues include the angle of the oil cap and pattern under the foot.

The Alacite tall Lincoln Drape lamp came in two variations—plain circular foot tops and foot tops with a scallop design.

Researching sell through prices on eBay reveals a wide price range. Alacite tall standard bases sold between $45 and $65. I was not able to find an example with a shade that matches the example on your lamp. Apparently, the shade choice option rested with the owner.

If your lamp is period, it has a value between $75 and $85. If a reproduction, reduce the value by one-half to two-thirds.

QUESTION: I have a 1941 Shapleigh’s catalog that is complete and in excellent condition. What is its value?

– ES, La Grange Park, IL, via e-mail

ANSWER: In 1843, August F. Shapleigh, a New Hampshire native, opened Rodger, Shapleigh, and Company, a branch of Rodger Brothers and Company of Philadelphia, in St. Louis, Mo. The company became A. F. Shapleigh and Company in 1863. The company published its first catalog in 1880. Shapleigh established a number of house brands such as Diamond Edge. In 1918, the company became Shapleigh Hardware Company. In 1930, the company acquired Simmons Hardware and its Keen Kutter trademark. Curtis Manufacturing purchased Shapleigh Hardware in 1955. The Shapleigh Hardware name was discontinued in the early 1960s.

Your catalog has a value between $35 and $45. However, a buyer will most likely cut the catalog apart and sell the individual pages. An individual page, depending on subject covered, would sell on eBay from $1 to $8.

Rinker Enterprises and Harry L. Rinker are on the Internet. Check out Harry’s Web site.

You can listen and participate in Harry’s antiques-and-collectibles radio call-in show “Whatcha Got?” on Sunday mornings between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Eastern Time. It streams live on the Genesis Communications Network.

“Sell, Keep Or Toss? How To Downsize A Home, Settle An Estate, And Appraise Personal Property” (House of Collectibles, an imprint of the Random House Information Group), Harry’s latest book, is available at your favorite bookstore and via Harry’s Web site.

Harry L. Rinker welcomes questions from readers about collectibles, those mass-produced items from the 20th century. Selected queries will be answered on this site. Harry cannot provide personal answers. Send your questions to: Rinker on Collectibles, 5955 Mill Pond Court SE, Kentwood, MI 49512. You can e-mail your questions to harrylrinker@aol.com. Only e-mails containing a full name and mailing address will be considered. Please indicate that these are questions for WorthPoint.

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